Fifth Circuit Decides Indian Prisoner Religious Freedom Case

Here is the opinion in Davis v. Davis.

An excerpt:

Prisoner Plaintiffs Teddy Norris Davis and Robbie Dow Goodman appeal the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of prison officials within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (“TDCJ”). The district court granted summary judgment in Defendants’ favor on Plaintiffs’ First Amendment and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims challenging TDCJ policies on the wearing of medicine bags, the use of pipes during Native American religious pipe ceremonies, and grooming, based on the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc, et seq. We AFFIRM in part as to the First Amendment claim and RLUIPA claims concerning medicine bags and pipe ceremonies, and we VACATE and REMAND in part for further findings as to Plaintiffs’ grooming-policy RLUIPA claim.

Eighth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Shakopee Tribal Member’s Prisoner Rights Claim

Here is the opinion in Brooks v. Roy.

An excerpt:

According to Brooks, he was placed into a 12-step program at New Dimensions because there is no alternative program at MCF-Faribault for those of a Native American faith. He says that the program “conflicts with his Native American religious faith” because it forces him to “profess beliefs that are inconsistent with his faith, which he does not wish to do.” Brooks does not, however, specify his religion or allege which principles of his religion are compromised or unaccommodated at MCF-Faribault. Instead, he requests to participate in what he asserts is a culturally appropriate treatment program available at the Mash-ka-wisen treatment center in Sawyer, Minnesota, which is 191 miles north of MCF-Faribault. Brooks says the defendants denied his request, and he appealed their decision until, he alleges, he had exhausted his administrative remedies.


Appellant Brief

Appellee Brief

Reply Brief


SCOTUS Upholds Prisoner Religious Freedom Claim in Holt v. Hobbs

Here is the opinion.
Here is the NYTs article describing the opinion.

NCAI and Huy filed briefs in this matter, here.

Of note, perhaps, Justice Sotomayor authored a separate concurring opinion quoting from two lower court decisions involving Indian or Indian-related claims, Yellowbear and Wilgus.